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Westin Mission Hills Resort
Rancho Mirage, Calif. • May 9 - 11

T.J. Kliebphipat holds Girls Division lead entering final round at The Westin Mission Hills Resort - Gary Player Signature Course

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Nick Thomas of Westlake Village, Calif., Anthony Kim of Cerritos, Calif., and Robbie Mamo of Apple Valley, Calif., each fired 3-under-par 69s to share the lead in the Boys Division after the opening round of the Golf World/Medicus Preseason Junior at Rancho Mirage. T.J. Kliebphipat of Panorama City, Calif., holds a one-stroke lead in the Girls Divison at The Westin Mission Hills Resort — Gary Player Signature Course.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Golf World/Medicus Preseason Junior at Rancho Mirage is a 36-hole stroke play event held at The Westin Mission Hills Resort — Gary Player Signature Course. The tournament field consists of 72 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from six states and Canada. The par-72 course is being played at 6,953 yards for the Boys Division and 5,889 yards for the Girls Division.

Starting on No. 5, Thomas used a fortunate bounce on his first hole of the day to propel his round. His tee shot on the par-3 hit a rock, carried over a water hazard and stayed in play. After making bogey on the hole, Thomas made birdies on Nos. 6, 7 and 10 to start his round at 2-under-par after six holes.

“If the ball went into the water on my first shot of the day, it could have easily been a double bogey,” Thomas said.

Kim attributed solid putting as he took 26 putts during the round. In addition to making five birdies, Kim scrambled for par five times. One example was on the par-4 second hole when he made a 15-foot putt for par.

“I hit my second shot over the green. I didn't hit a good chip, as I hit it 15 feet past the hole,” Kim said. “I was able to save par by making that putt to keep me at 2-under.”

Mamo, who started on No. 18, made birdies on Nos. 1 and 3. After making bogey on the par-5 11th hole, he came back with a birdie on No. 12 and made an additional birdie on the par-4 No. 16.

“The birdie on No. 16 was important,” Mamo said. “I knew 67 or 68 would be the low score. I wanted to give myself a chance for tomorrow's round.”

Trailing behind the three leaders is Allen Kwon of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Kwon is in fourth place with a 2-under-par 70 first round. In a tie for fifth place with even-par 72s are Byron Meth of San Diego, Matt Crawford of Redwood City, Calif., Nick Russell of Vancouver, British Columbia, Brennan Dolan of Boulder, Colo., and Dashiell Lindsell of Burlingame, Calif.

Kliebphipat's even-par score was highlighted by birdies on Nos. 7, 9 and 10. She played her short game in the first round safe, and will use tomorrow's final round to be more aggressive around the green.

“After making bogey on No. 8, I had to focus with a good drive and second shot on No. 9,” Kliebphipat said. “Tomorrow I will try to hit more greens as my bogeys were caused by chipping problems.”

Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division are Gabriella Then of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., in second at 1-over-par 73 and Amelia Ek of Cypress, Calif., in third at 3-over-par 75.

Golf World, the nation's oldest and most widely read newsweekly golf magazine, is published by Golf Digest Publications and is part of Condé Nast Publications. Condé Nast Publications, a unit of Advance Publications, includes twenty-eight consumer magazines and their websites, eight uniquely branded websites, the Fairchild Fashion Group, Parade, the Condé Nast Media Group, and the Shared Services Centers.

Medicus Golf and The Medicus Golf Institute are dedicated to enabling all golfers to “Live Their Vision” in reaching their potential. By expanding its corporate vision, mission, products and services, Medicus Golf will enable golfers to learn and grow — both as a person and as a player — in a series of new and exciting developmental formats.

Medicus Golf enters its third year of sponsorship of the AJGA by supporting the Medicus Preseason Series. The Medicus Learning System, a comprehensive series of golf training aids, is dedicated to assisting golfers of all ages.

The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 foreign countries.

Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.

Final-round tee times for the Golf World/Medicus Preseason Junior at Rancho Mirage will run from 7-8:50 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at The Westin Mission Hills Resort — Gary Player Signature Course. For more information on the Golf World/ Medicus Preseason Junior at Rancho Mirage, please call Tournament Headquarters at (678) 485-1135.